Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Donald Trump’s account in the wake of the assault on the Capitol on Wednesday continues to fuel fierce debate, supporters and critics divided along partisan lines as they question what the suspension means for a cherished American tradition: free speech. .
Republicans, many of them using Twitter, condemned Trump’s impeachment and claimed that conservative beliefs and opinions are being censored.
“Big Tech censoring [Trump] and the freedom of expression of American citizens is on par with communist countries like China and North Korea. ” tweeted Steve Daines, Senator from Montana.
The son of President Donald Trump Jr said: “Freedom of expression is dead and controlled by lords of the left.”
Democrats argued that the company had the legal right to make the decision, which they said was long overdue.
“It took blood and glass in the halls of Congress, and a change in the political winds, for the most powerful tech companies to recognize, at the last possible moment, the threat from Trump.” tweeted Senator Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut.
Trump’s suspension came two days after the US Capitol came under a violent attack by supporters of the president, who for months spread false information about the election and encouraged his supporters to challenge the result.
Two tweets the president posted on Friday were the last straw. Trump tweeted that his supporters “will have a GIANT VOICE in the future” and said he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration. Twitter said the tweets were very likely to “encourage and inspire people” to replicate the attacks on the Capitol. Reports of secondary attacks have spread among extremist groups on social media.
For years, there has been a debate about the role social media companies should play in moderating content.
Conservatives are adamant that companies should be punished for what they say is censorship that the Republican Study Committee, a House of Representatives group, wrote in Twitter “It goes against the principle behind our first amendment.”
Tiffany Trump, the president’s daughter, used the social media site Parler, popular with conservatives and also subject to controversy over her policies, to say: “What happened to freedom of expression?”
Republicans claim that Twitter’s move violates the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Others argue that the First Amendment says that the government cannot restrict speech, but social media companies are private entities.
“[The first amendment] does not grant anyone the right to a particular platform, publisher or audience; in fact, it protects the right of private entities to choose what they want to say or hear, ”said Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law. Twitter.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act exempts social media platforms from legal responsibility for user-generated content. Republicans, including Trump, say Congress could restrict social media businesses through law reform.
But Republicans no longer control Congress and Democratic activists and lawmakers said the actions taken this week – Facebook has banned Trump for at least two weeks and Google removed Parler from its app store – are what they have been advocating for for. years. The attack on the Capitol, they said, showed that a breaking point had been reached.
Disinformation experts and civil rights activists claimed the platforms were guilty of the attack.
“[The violence] is a direct response to the misinformation, conspiracy theories and hate speech that has been allowed to spread on social media platforms. ”Jim Steyer, who runs Common Sense Media, an advocacy group that organized the Stop the campaign Hate for Profit that encouraged advertisers to boycott Facebook over concerns about hate speech, told The Guardian.
Many Democratic lawmakers have been critical of social media companies, but have yet to propose specific actions to restrict them.
“It is important to remember that this is much bigger than a person,” wrote Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, incoming chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, in Twitter.
“It is a complete ecosystem that allows disinformation and hatred to spread and become infected without control.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism